In a rousing speech at the Labour Party conference today, new Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell made an incredible statement of intent as he outlined his policies and vowed to crackdown on tax avoiding firms in the UK.
The 64-year-old was greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation after he took to the stage in Brighton and publicly named and shamed big companies who he alleged are involved in tax avoidance schemes.
We will force people like Starbucks, Amazon, Vodafone and Google and all the others to pay their share of taxes.
All he was missing was the mic drop after that one! Of course, Vodafone were quick to hit out at the speech, saying there was “no truth” to the claims.
In addition, McDonnell called out the Conservative government and current chancellor George Osborne for the alleged “myth” about austerity in Britain.
Austerity is not an economic necessity – it is a political choice. Although they said they were one nation Tories they’ve demonstrated time and time again that they don’t represent one nation – they represent the 1%. We’ll take no lessons from a chancellor who promised to wipe out the deficit in one parliament and only got through half. The UK economy is in recovery despite the Chancellor’s policies and not because of them.
In his speech, McDonnell also promised Labour would “halt Conservative tax cuts to the wealthy paid for by cuts to families’ income”, a “real living wage” (higher than the £7.20 offered by Osborne), and “decent and secure homes” for children in homeless families.
Any cuts made by a Labour government – who he called “the only anti-austerity party” – he said, would be to the “corporate welfare system”.
In short, “We will not tackle the deficit on the backs of middle and low earners and especially not by attacking the poorest in our society”, said McDonnell, who wants to push for a “Robin Hood tax”.
McDonnell went on to cite the case of mentally ill Michael O’Sullivan, who committed suicide after his disability benefits were removed under extreme new DWP measures, courtesy of Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith.
The shadow chancellor (like many others) does not believe this is an isolated incident and stated, “We will end this brutal treatment of disabled people”.
With McDonnell’s big claims today and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s impressive speech yesterday, we know there’ll be a lot of left-wing voters very excited for the future of British politics!